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I need to download an entire Gmail account such that it's in a format that's friendly for importation / upload into a Dovecot server. What's the right way to proceed with this so as to not only download all messages + attachments, but also to retain any existing "folder" structure?

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You can refer to the official pages on how to Export your data from Gmail
as well as How to download your Google data, where you will find complete instructions on how to complete your export.

You can also follow instructions from the Migration from Gmail to Dovecot wiki page.

  • So this is good info, thanks, but what about an intermediate step? For example, I'd like to go from Gmail to file to Dovecot in a paced fashion vs immediately importing into Dovecot. This is more of a "backup and then decide" route where once could back up Gmail and then even perhaps keep sync'ing it to a backup for some days or weeks before pulling the trigger on the file upload to the new service provider like Dovecot... – ylluminate Jan 10 at 6:30
  • What would "an intermediate step" or "paced fashion" be? Do you mean syncing using IMAP or POP3 over a prolonged period of time after the export? Sorry but I lost you there. Maybe you would be better helped over at serverfault/dovecot/gmail. In any case since "this is good info" you could consider accepting and even upvoting the answer so others can benefit as well. – marikamitsos Jan 10 at 7:41
  • Well, I mean I want to do something like: gmail-download backup.file then later dovecot-upload backup.file – ylluminate Jan 10 at 8:16

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